By Mark Etheridge
Olympic canoe hopefuls Shaun Rubenstein and Mike Arthur have been in Portugal fine-tuning their craft ahead of next weekend’s World Cup event.
The talented K2 combination finished just 0.016 seconds off the podium at the year’s first World Cup event in Vichy, France earlier this month and the podium is a priority next week.
The two paddlers, part of SASCOC’s OPEX programme that identifies possible medallists in 2012, are now based in Cape Town in the run-in to the London games.
The duo went to Portugal, base of their boat manufacturer Nelo, to identify ways to improve their boat for the new 200-metre event that will be raced in London.
Said Rubenstein: “Our problem is that Mike is about 10kg heavier than me so when we’re at maximum speed the nose of the boat comes out of the water and at the same time the tail dips which is not nearly as efficient as a boat running level on the water.
“So while we were at Nelo they attached this fancy accelerometer on the boat that measured acceleration in all directions — up down, sideways, tilting, forwards/backwards — and then they link that data up with a video of us paddling and we were able to see exactly the diferent effects that different set-ups had on our boat movements.”
Rubenstein is now looking forward to the newly adjusted boat. “Obviously the smoother the boat runs the better so thats what we are aiming to achieve. It was cool that Andre (the guy who works for Nelo) took all our info and compared it with the Spanish Olympic K2 champions and showed us the basic differences and where we should look to close the gap.
“We getting our new custommade boat on Tuesday so we are pretty amped to see how much faster we can be with the new set-up. The biggest change is that I am moving a long way forward to balance the weight out more evenly and we have lead weights in the nose of the boat to keep it down.”
The World Cup will be raced in Szeged, Hungary. “We are very motivated after our results in France. Not only were we so close to the podium but we were very close to first and second as well, second being the Spanish Olympic champs. Our training has gone well and we both want to get onto the top of that podium really badly. We realistically believe that we can so that is pretty cool going into the race. Hopefully it goes our way… “